Climate change, sustainability, diversity, financial probity, gender and governance are profound and complex challenges facing local government today, and are all topics raised by the researchers and practitioners contributing to CJLG Issue 10. Cash-strapped local governments are required to deliver core services (‘roads, rates and rubbish’ as Heather Zeppel’s interviewee said), yet are increasingly required to embrace broad social inclusion and environmental concerns, as our contributors show.
The five research papers in this issue touch at the heart of equity and democratic governance. The role of critical theory in delivering good practice is explored by Eris Schoburgh in her reflection on local government and local development, and her comparison of Trinidad & Tobago’s structured decentralisation and Jamaica’s communitarian approach. She dismisses the ‘leading laggard’ model where linked settlement economies sink or swim together, and the ‘learning region’ which maximise local synergies to promote economic growth, to propose a new ‘hybrid model’ of local growth that tackles on-going issues such as gender equality, the informal economy and the local commons.